Samsung's Galaxy S9 phones inch out iPhone X for top Consumer Reports ranking

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 16
In a surprise development, Consumer Reports has named the two newest Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, to the number one spot in its smartphone rankings.

Samsung Galaxy S9


According to the rankings, the top of the list is dominated by Samsung, although it was close -- just six points separate the top 20 ranked devices, Consumer Reports said.

A tight ranking

The S9 and S9+ are tied for first, with 81 points, edging out the Samsung's Galaxy S8, with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and Galaxy S8 Plus next with 79 each. The highest-ranked Apple devices are the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8, which ranked sixth and seventh, while the iPhone X placed 8th with Consumer Reports' testers.

The S9 devices came in first despite lukewarm reviews, as well as lesser battery life than the previous model, and an inferior camera system on the S9 than on the S8. Prior to the release of the S9, Consumer Reports had released its ranking of the top smartphone cameras, and it was all Apple: iPhone X was on top, followed by the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Apple held five of the top six spots.

Nevertheless, Galaxy S9 devices won for a few reasons, according to CR. The S9 performed better in drop tests, making it through 100 drops with "just minor scratches," while the S9+ cracked on the second series of 50 drops. The publication also praised the Samsung devices' "great stereo speakers," its retention of the headphone jack, and "convenient security features." But Consumer Reports did acknowledge the lackluster battery life and over-sharpening of photos.

"It really comes down to personal preference when you're talking about high-end phones these days," Consumer Reports' head of smartphone testing Richard Fisco said regarding the test results.

After the S9 was released, some customers complained of issues with the touchscreen, as well as problems with data loss and lens flares.

Apple fans vs. Consumer Reports

Apple enthusiasts over the years, from the so-called Antennagate controversy to negative reviews of the HomePod, have frequently suspected an anti-Apple bias in Consumer Reports' product ratings, including questions about its review methodologies. These issues were discussed in March on the AppleInsider podcast.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    HeliBumHeliBum Posts: 27member
    Why is that a surprise? Berating an iPhone has become one of CR's habits.
    lordjohnwhorfinmacxpressmagman1979StrangeDaysGG1racerhomie3watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 38
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,880member
    I’m not familiar with the S9. Can someone explain “an inferior camera system on the S9 than on the S8”? Newer phones tend to have better cameras so where is AI getting this from? Is there a specific review or test that rated the S9 camera worse than the S8?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 38
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,406member
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.
    lordjohnwhorfinmagman1979StrangeDaysracerhomie3watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,630member
    I can’t say whether CR is being bias or not, but I can say it’s hard to trust anything they say or take at face value these days.
    anton zuykovmagman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 38
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,830administrator
    I’m not familiar with the S9. Can someone explain “an inferior camera system on the S9 than on the S8”? Newer phones tend to have better cameras so where is AI getting this from? Is there a specific review or test that rated the S9 camera worse than the S8?
    Well, that's what Consumer Reports said in their linked piece, so.
    edited April 16 watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 38
    I'll feel like quite the fool next time I drop my X a hundred times. Butterfingers!
    iqatedowlymwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 38
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,289member
    I haven't read the CR article since I don't subscribe, but several points:
    - small point differences are meaningless

    - if this was judged by a consumer panel, they usually have idiots on the panels when it comes to electronics.   For TV's, they tend to choose sets with the highest contrast levels and the most saturation, not the sets with the best picture because they don't know what a good picture is.  Same for audio.   They will choose the systems with the boomiest bass and exaggerated high end, not the systems with the most accurate and refined sound.

    - if this was evaluated by scientists/engineers/technicians, they don't really take UI and "feel" into consideration.

    In the 1970's, Consumer Reports rated the AMC Gremlin the best subcompact car made.   I bought that car based on their recommendation.  Everything that could ever go wrong in a car except for the air conditioner went wrong in that car:  valves, rings, wheel bearings, electrical shorts, oil leaks, etc.   Even the seat back failed because the rod that held the seat up wore out.    CR later apologized, but I never trusted them again.

    About a year or two ago, I resubscribed to the online edition for some reason (can't remember why - maybe it was to see ratings of ranges).  But the info provided was so bad, I cancelled almost immediately.    

    I think about the only thing they do well is the long term repair record results for automobiles, but even that has flaws in that it's up to the consumer to decide whether a fault or repair is "serious".    

    And even if CR did still do a good job and even if their review of smartphones was accurate, in the end what difference does it make?  Different strokes for different folks.   It wouldn't matter to me if a competitive phone was better than the iPhone in some respects because I would never trust Android/Google anyway.    
    edited April 16 lordjohnwhorfinjdgazmagman1979radarthekatMplsPwlymwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Aside from your 70-year-old uncle, does anyone know anybody that even reads Consumer Reports anymore?
    radarthekatsuddenly newtonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 38
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,622member
    Fine, the new Samsung is better than iPhone on some minuscule level but Samsung has no ecosystem. No thanks. Whatever...I'm not a Samsung hater, I just like all my Apple gear.

    I recently returned from an international business trip and Samsung advertising is everywhere, even outside on the tarmac so you can see it from your seat on the airplane. They have stores inside the airports as well. I saw a lot of people walking around with Samsung phones but nothing but iPhones in first class.
    magman1979GG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    vadimyuryevvadimyuryev Posts: 114member, editor
    brucemc said:
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.
    The most interesting thing is that you can't use Samsung Pay with the S9's new Intelligent Scan biometric authentication system, which combines both Face Recognition and Iris Scanning for more reliable unlocking.

    It's still only available for use with Iris scanning and Fingerprint scanning.

    This shows that Samsung doesn't fully trust the new feature, even though they've had years to fix any security issues with both Face Recognition and Iris Scanning.

    Apple, on the other hand, jumped right into their brand new Face ID feature with full confidence, allowing users to use Face ID for pretty much everything, including iPhone Unlock, Apple Pay, iTunes & App Store, Safari Autofill and third-party apps that support it.

    Some of those third-party apps hold extremely sensitive information, like Bank of America, PayPal and Credit Karma. 
    magman1979StrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    I’m not familiar with the S9. Can someone explain “an inferior camera system on the S9 than on the S8”? Newer phones tend to have better cameras so where is AI getting this from? Is there a specific review or test that rated the S9 camera worse than the S8?
    Well, that's what Consumer Reports said in their linked piece, so.

    Anandtech has done a detailed study on the S9's camera compared to competition.

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/12520/the-galaxy-s9-review/10

  • Reply 12 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,630member
    jsmythe00 said:
    brucemc said:
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.

    It doesn't get a pass . We all know it's garbage but Sammy offers a wide range of options for securely unlocking your phone... Making usability much more consumer friendly
    You misspelled “hacker and law enforcement friendly.”  😃
    magman1979StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,306member
    jsmythe00 said:
    brucemc said:
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.

    It doesn't get a pass . We all know it's garbage but Sammy offers a wide range of options for securely unlocking your phone... Making usability much more consumer friendly
    Facial recognition definitely has a convenience factor to it. Use it for general use and switch to the fingerprint scanner/passcode when security needs to be increased.

    It's nothing new for Samsung and others, who have been using it for various functions for a while now, and, as you say is consumer friendly.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,880member
    I’m not familiar with the S9. Can someone explain “an inferior camera system on the S9 than on the S8”? Newer phones tend to have better cameras so where is AI getting this from? Is there a specific review or test that rated the S9 camera worse than the S8?
    Well, that's what Consumer Reports said in their linked piece, so.
    Oh. Interesting.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,418moderator
    Did they not turn on the phones?  If they had they would have clearly seen that the Samsung phone runs Android.  That’s a Bill Paxton “Game over, man” moment right there, no need to test further. 
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    BluntBlunt Posts: 198member
    AI should ignore these clowns. Yes also when Apple comes out on top.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,913member
    jsmythe00 said:
    brucemc said:
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.

    It doesn't get a pass . We all know it's garbage but Sammy offers a wide range of options for securely unlocking your phone... Making usability much more consumer friendly
    Actually having multiple and competing mechanisms on the same device is the opposite of user friendly. Try again. 

    If Samsung doesn’t trust a bio authentification mechanism it shouldn’t be there. 
    edited April 16 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,306member
    jsmythe00 said:
    brucemc said:
    That Samsung's biometric security options for retina scan and facial recognition continue to get a pass says all that you need to know about CR.

    It doesn't get a pass . We all know it's garbage but Sammy offers a wide range of options for securely unlocking your phone... Making usability much more consumer friendly
    Actually having multiple and competing mechanisms on the same device is the opposite of user friendly. Try again. 

    If Samsung doesn’t trust a bio authentification mechanism it shouldn’t be there. 
    Choice is good and not particularly new. The only real difference is that we have more options open to us than before.

    On iOS devices you have passcode options with two choices (activated or deactivated) plus biometrics (TouchID or FaceID) depending on the device.

    Android offers other options with different choices for unlocking (trusted places/devices).

    While some iOS users will prefer Apple to take these decisions regarding choice for them, others will not.

    It's not simply a question of user friendliness or not, but having options or not and perceived design compromises.

    Is having competing keyboard options, web browsers, pdf viewers etc in some way anti user friendly?

    It is not only biometrics. It's everything.

    Personally, I wouldn't go with any biometric option that had potential health issues (iris scanning) but many others don't offer that anyway but still offer alternatives where possible. It has nothing to do with user friendliness.

    I wonder how many iPhone 8 series users would like the option of facial recognition using the device's camera even knowing full well that it couldn't be used for payments etc.

    As a convenience option, I think many would like to have it.

    Is limiting FaceID to one user, user unfriendly?


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 38
    78Bandit78Bandit Posts: 175member
    One thing to remember is Consumer Reports generally favors the initial experience of products.  Both phones are wonderful pieces of technology, but Apple's will be current for a much longer period of time as it gets iOS updates for potentially five years.  If I were trading phones every year or two I would certainly consider the S9 for the $275 in savings over a comparable iPhone X; however, since I tend to keep phones for three years or more I'm more inclined to purchase Apple.  Hopefully this fall Apple will have something more competitive in the S9 price range other than the iPhone 8.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    nunzynunzy Posts: 405member
    Consumer Reports has zero credibility.  They don't value quality and ease of use. They have always been wrong about Apple. Every single time.
    magman1979watto_cobra
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